John Arthur Nichol

Unwrapping Sascha Martin’s Christmas Eve, the Paperback

Welcome to the grand unveiling of the not-final pre-publication proof copy of the paperback of Sascha Martin’s Christmas Eve! I wanted to capture it on video so I could share this very special moment with you.

Proof copies of a book are printed before publication, so you can check for errors and confirm that the book is ready to be published. This video captures the arrival of Sascha Martin's Christmas Eve, the proof copy, right from opening the parcel.

A certain other person, who in this case is not Mary-Alice Cooper, does have a final copy of the book. But that's another story I'll mention further on.

If it all looks a bit awkward and tentative, it’s only because the iPad responsible for videography was propped up with Various Weighty Objects, and the closed laptop you see on screen was serving as my guide for keeping both parcel and emerging book in focus.

I couldn’t leave it alone, though, even though I’d set it up with great care. I still had to check the distance a couple of times during filming. That’s why, as you’ll notice part way through, Luca and Klaus were forced to stay longer at Taronga - I was AFB, of course, peering rudely over the iPad’s shoulder.

Speaking of, when I’d propped up the iPad with its Various Weighty Objects, ready to film, I’d placed it vertically. Was this a conscious decision? Absolutely not! It was a moment, and I have many of these, when the Obvious Thing To Do had gone skipping off somewhere by itself, and it left me recording, in portrait orientation, a video I wanted in landscape.

I was able to make up some ground by enlarging the important part of the video - the bit with the book and parcel - but I couldn’t fill the screen this way. Not completely. I did try, but pixels and resolution can only be so forgiving.

The result is that a black sidebar has become a functional part of the video, and I’ve done what I can to make it seem like a planned element, and a useful one at that. See how it showcases the book’s images displayed in the adjacent space? And of course, it’s a place to put text without scribbling all over the book. Very important.

But You Can't Have Failed to Notice This

From the outset you’re bound to have seen something wrong on the cover of our proof copy. Very wrong indeed!

We observed it for weeks without seeing it, and though I’d like to say that it’s the reason the cover changed immediately after this one, I can’t. That change happened before this proof even left the assembly line, and still we didn’t see the problem.

The actual reason has more to do with artistic temperament meeting opportunity … or perhaps it’s further demonstration of Mary-Alice Cooper’s maxim that, with fairy dust and an iron will, you can achieve anything. Manuela certainly had some magic she wanted to work, and no power on earth could have stopped her.

There’s a video about that revision, too. You can see it here.

The fact that we didn’t spot the mistake even then meant yet another revision, prosaic and punctuational, had to follow the magic one.

But Sascha Martin’s Christmas Eve did pull through - a magical journey indeed! Manuela even acquired a copy from Amazon before the book was on sale. That shouldn’t have been possible, but then there’s that whole thing about magic and iron wills.

Armed with her illicit copy, Manuela made a video of her own that shows off the final, stamp-of-approval version of the book, the one whose cover is both correct and sprinkled with fairy dust. Don’t miss it whatever you do - click the image the below and watch. And listen.

And of course, buy the book! Give it to someone this Christmas. OR - but AND would work just as well as OR - buy Sascha Martin’s Christmas Eve for yourself, discerning reader. Keep it safe, but handy, for those moments when you absolutely have to steal away and indulge that secret need we all know you have ... to giggle.